Bayfest celebrates 10 years

The big bass boom from Bayfest beckoned Gail and Paul Junger from the beach Oct. 16.

“We were over at the beach, on the Gulf, and we could hear the music,” Paul Junger of Lakewood Ranch said. “We packed up and came over and found this big party.”

The party turned out to be the second day of Bayfest, the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce celebration, now in its 10th year, on Pine Avenue in Anna Maria. The party featured a classic car show, live music, a children’s entertainment zone, a Taste of Island food court, a fishing contest and dozens of retail and arts and crafts vendors.

The event also drew a number of politicians, including those seeking votes in the Nov. 2 election.

At-large Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore, who is seeking re-election to a four-year term, turned out, along with Democratic challenger Sundae Lynn Knight. County commission candidate Roger Galle, seeking to represent District 4, also trekked up and down Pine Avenue.

As for Island candidates, Anna Maria mayoral candidates Sandy Mattick and Mike Selby staffed booths. So did Michael Harrington, who is running for commissioner in Bradenton Beach, and Jean Peelen, who is running for commissioner in Holmes Beach.

The local Democratic Party organization also had a presence, a booth where festival-goers could learn about candidates, pick up signs and sign a petition against oil drilling and exploration in the Gulf of Mexico.

“This is a nice way to pick up on politics,” said Bradenton resident Shelby Whitacre, whose purse was stuffed with papers collected from Bayfest booths and whose hand held a hot dog dripping with mustard and ketchup.

“I never miss a Bayfest,” said Whitacre.

Neither has 6-year-old Meghan Whitacre.

“I like the ice cream and the music,” she said. Her hand held the string to a helium-filled blue balloon. “But everything’s fun.”

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